250th Post! Visual Beauty for Your Device

I missed getting a Sun(Fun)day post out yesterday. Turns out that there are only so many hours in the day and yesterday they passed by way too quickly.

So, it’s Monday, sunny here in Ohio, we’re on the 250th post at this blog and it’s a good day for celebrating the miracle that is our eyes!

If you’re like me, you change your device’s wallpaper or background image frequently. I like to enjoy that moment of beauty before I get to whatever app or task I’m seeking.

So, for your viewing pleasure here’s a few of my favorite sites for downloading beautiful images and a recent example of each.

Perhaps you’ve already discovered the Bing Wallpaper Gallery. As a search engine, Microsoft’s Bing takes a lot of flack. But as a source for daily, seasonally themed, blow-your-mind images it’s the best. It also has a highly searchable archive to find any type of image perfectly sized to fit your desktop/homescreen:

Photo Bing

So after I stop at Bing’s site, I go over to my next favorite site for daily images as well as great, daily prayer resources. Hosted my the Jesuits of the Midwest Province, the location of the site is Jesuitprayer.org. Each day they offer a gripping image paired with a quote related to the liturgical reading and related reflection for the day. There’s also an iOS app available. The images aren’t always in the highest definition, so sometimes they are a bit fuzzy on my iPad lock screen. Still, the reflections included are worth pausing on for a moment before unlocking and moving forward.

Photo Jesuit

The last site is one that I just discovered the other day. I’ve known about the Three Minute Retreat site and app for a while. I get their daily email and for the first time I looked closely at the links within it. Not only is there one to Loyola PressLenten Resources, but there’s also a link to where you can download seasonal images which include a quote from the week’s scripture and the month’s calendar. The stunning one on my iPad lock screen today is above while this week’s is here:

Photo Loyola 1

One really good thing about the file (above) from Loyola is that it fits perfectly onto the iPad screen while the Three Minute Retreat one needs to be reduced.

As a bonus, if you’re looking for lock screen images and home screen organization on your Android device, may I recommend what I use – Picturesque and Aviate respectively.

Friday FunLink – Images: Stars and Star Wars

It’s Friday again and most exciting event of the week was the release of the full Star Wars VII trailer:

As of this posting, it has only 38,331,374 views. And I’ve contributed at least ten of those!

Less noticed this week was the release of the biggest, widest, largest high-res photo of the universe ever taken. One of the 268 combined sections:

Star Image

The special on-line site to scroll through an interactive version of the full image can be found HERE.

Soon after I posted the Sun(Fun)day link on the new Star Wars poster, I discovered a great companion site. Here you can “watch Star Wars evolve through its spectacular history of posters” It’s worth a look. Aside from the original teaser poster (above) here’s a few of my favorites:

Star Wars Class - 9

Hey – I have a T-shirt with this on it!

Star Wars Class - 8

Ahh…so gloriously low tech. And check out those action figures!

Star Wars Classic - 5

I’ve always thought this was the most dramatic and gripping of the main three posters. And only 55 days until Star Wars VII hits the theaters!




The 30 Most Iconic Images in Space Travel History

Last Sunday was the Super Moon with the full lunar eclipse. Here, it was sadly too overcast to see it when it reached the peak at about 10:15 pm. It was a good occasion for me to post a video of the moon moving in front of the earth. 

This Sunday, in addition to being the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, is the anniversary of the first satellite launch in 1957. It was Sputnik, launched by the Soviets, and the opening salvo of the space race.

To remember that historic day, I share this eye-popping article from Time which displays the 30 most iconic images (in their opinion) in space travel history. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to enjoy some famous firsts as well as extraordinary views of the universe we call home.

My three favorites are:

The photo above – The First Photo of the Earth, 1966; On Aug. 23, 1966, the world received its first view of Earth taken by the Lunar Orbiter I from the vicinity of the Moon.

Space Photo 2

Saturn, 1973 Pioneer 11, launched by NASA on 6th April 1973, returned the first close-up pictures of the ringed planet Saturn.

Space Photo 3

Mars Rover Selfie, 2015; NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year — 687 Earth days — spent exploring the Red Planet.

The Words Pope Francis Used the Most on His U.S. Trip (175th post!)

To put an exclamation point on Pope Francis’ truly awesome U.S. visit, Huffington Post analyzed the 19 speeches and homilies he delivered on U.S. soil. From this, they created the word cloud art above and also a slide show with an inspiring image illustrating each word. Note: The image above is partial – to see it all, visit the HuffPost link.

I’m not going to list the top 10 words here (as I want to encourage you to look at the link itself), but three of my favorite images are:

Pope Francis - 2 - Love

Pope Francis - 4 - Those

Pope Francis - 5 - Many

Returning with Flat Francis

Wow – it’s been a while since any of the three of us have posted here.  Things got crazy busy with the wrap up of the school year and all that entailed.  Then came instructing at Summer Gym – seven eight and a half hour days, which fulfill one of two semesters of Physical Education required for high school graduation in Ohio.  It was a lucrative, exhausting, and frequently fun way to spend my first fourteen weekdays of summer.  Rachel and I worked together one of the days to teach our students how to play Pickleball!

Then it was off to an enjoyable vacation in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain Nat’l Park.  A favorite attraction (in a location with no shortage of them) was the tram up to Ober Gatlinburg.

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And then it was the Fourth of July and a chance to march in a local parade with my daughter’s dance studio:

2015-07-04 12.59.27

Since Pope Francis has been in the headlines recently with the release of the groundbreaking encyclical Laudato Si, I thought I’d share another way to participate this summer in the Francis Phenomenon BBC. FYI – In case you’ve not yet read enough about the encyclical, Time Magazine has a solid, brief summary and the always interesting Atlantic has a thoughtful, secular perspective.

This summer, be sure to take Flat Francis with you:



Inspired by the Flat Stanley phenomenon, Catholic Extension has launched a website and Twitter handle to which people can post photos of Flat Francis.  These photos will be given to Pope Francis in advance of his fall trip to the U.S. so he can see people and places beyond the East Coast.

Some notable people (and mascots) have already posted:

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And here’s my contribution, from the day we took the Summer Gym students to canoe on the Hocking River:

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50 Amazing Finds on Google Earth

So, have you ever had a few moments, opened up Google Earth and just wondered about the view from space.  You wondered: “What does the Grand Canyon look like?” “How about the Great Wall of China?” “Disneyland and Disney World?” “My neighborhood?”

Apparently the person who put together this list of amazing and unexpected sites from Google Earth, asked these types of questions and many more.

I found many of the images fascinating, but I think I like this one the best:

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